The Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs

Dogs are playful animals, and love to chew on anything that is near them. From toys, shoes, socks to laces and or bones, you will find all sorts of items in your furry friend’s mouth from time to time.

As a dog owner, it is important to keep an eye on what your dog has in his mouth, as dogs can choke on certain items. You should also know what to do when your dog starts choking.

When something gets stuck or lodged in your dog’s windpipe, he will start coughing and choking, and his eyes will bulge out. He will also put his paws in his mouth.

If a veterinary service provider or assistance isn’t immediately available, you must try to stop your dog from choking.

Knowing how to assist your dog at home when this untimely event takes place is crucial for their well-being. However, in case you are not able to stop the choking, it is advised that you take your dog to the nearest vet without any delay.

What to do when your dog starts choking

If you notice your dog is choking and not breathing properly, do not panic. For starters, you need to check what is inside your dog’s mouth or throat. If your dog is having difficulty removing the object, you need to help him.

Use your fingers to pull his tongue and remove the object from his mouth. You must be very careful while removing the object because you could cause more damage by pushing the object further down the dog’s throat.

However, if you are not able to remove the object, you can perform the Heimlich maneuver to stop your dog from choking.

Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs - PUCCI Cafe

Heimlich Maneuver: An Overview

Heimlich maneuver is an emergency treatment for obstruction of the airway in individuals. You can also use the Heimlich maneuver on your dogs.

If your puppy starts choking, don’t be afraid. As mentioned earlier, you need to stay calm in order to perform the Heimlich maneuver properly.

Hold your dog on your lap and turn him around onto his back. Place one hand on his back so that he maintains a steady position. Your other hand should be beneath the center of his rib cage. Apply gentle pressure beneath the rib cage. You need to press inward and upward a few times.

If the Heimlich maneuver procedure doesn’t work, you can try another procedure. For this procedure, you need to pick your dog up by his thighs in a position where his belly is facing towards you. After that, gently shake the dog to make sure the lodged object comes out.

If you have a large-sized dog, you need to put your arms around your dog’s abdomen. Then, close your hands to make a fist and push up and forward five times. Make sure to use a thrusting motion.

If the item is not dislodged, you can try the technique again (a maximum of four or five times). Once the item is dislodged, examine your furry friend’s mouth to see if nothing is at the back of his mouth.

In case food is stuck in a dog’s mouth, it may take a while to come out. Food can also be hidden somewhere deep down the dog’s throat or mouth so you must check for it properly. This can be a bit difficult as you will have to search for the food item and then remove it out with your index finger. Be very patient and gentle to prevent your dog from panicking or getting anxious.

Keep in mind though, if at any time your dog becomes unconscious due to the obstruction of his airway, you can start rescue breathing and CPR right away or seek immediate veterinary attention.

Once your dog has stopped choking …

Once your dog has stopped choking, you will feel relieved and at ease. However, the process doesn’t end here. Despite having removed the irritating object from your best bud’s mouth, you will still need to take them to a vet immediately. Choking can cause damage to a dog’s throat, even though you might not be able to see signs of damage as they were internal in nature.

If your dog faced breathing issues for a long time, the vet might recommend that you hospitalize your dog. Furthermore, they could suggest a bronchoscopy to check for signs of throat damage.

The Last Word

It is true what they say, “Prevention is better than cure”, especially when it comes to caring for our children and pets.

Just like the way we keep a close watch on young children, we must do the same for our pets.  Dogs, just like children, are naïve and have no clue that chewing on certain objects may cause choking and take their life.

If you have children in your house, make sure to keep their toys far away from your dog as they can be risky. It is important to provide your dog with food that is formulated specifically for his size to prevent choking. Last but not least, avoid giving him bones that can easily fit inside his mouth. Many dogs try to swallow an object if it fits inside their mouth.

As we mentioned earlier, if you are unable to stop your furry friend from choking, take them to a vet as soon as you can. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by such a traumatic event, so stay calm and ask someone to drive you there. If your dog is panicking, keep talking to him till the time you reach the vet.

Such an emergency can happen to any pet anytime. So, it is best to be prepared by having an idea of what to do. After reading this blog, we hope you have gained knowledge of what steps to take in the event your dog starts choking.

by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™

Facts About Animal Homelessness:

  1. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.
  2. The main reasons animals are in shelters: owners give them up, or animal control finds them on the street.
  3. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes. Act as a publicist for your local shelter so pets can find homes. Sign up for Shelter Pet PR.
  4. Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  5. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.
  6. 25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.
  7. About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.
  8. It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States. Estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
  9. Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. Overpopulation, due to owners letting their pets accidentally or intentionally reproduce, sees millions of these “excess” animals killed annually.
  10. Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
  11. According to The Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US and 10,000 rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America.

Here are a some adoptions for consideration: